Sunday, August 08, 2010
I’ve read a fair amount about emotional eating, which is generally described as eating for reasons other than physiological hunger. That’s true, but I’ve found that I experience two different kinds of emotional eating. For simplicity I’ll call them Emotional Eating (EE) Types 1 and 2. EE Type 1 would be a non-compulsive albeit mindless eating for reasons other than hunger, including boredom or just because something sounds, looks, or smells good enough to eat. In comparison, EE Type 2 is compulsive eating driven by an emotional component. In essence, EE Type 2 is using food as a drug. I am happy to say that I have learned how to deal with both eating types, although I still struggle with both on occasion.
Dealing with EE Type 1 eating can generally be solved by acknowledging that I have an appetite, but am not truly hungry, and making a choice not to eat or to postpone eating what I desire until I am genuinely hungry. Often I find that once I am truly hungry I no longer desire what I had originally wanted to eat. However, sometimes what I want to eat is exactly what I originally craved, so I then eat it with enthusiasm. The trick to overcoming EE Type 1 eating is to be aware and make healthful choices. I am getting better at this with each struggle that I successfully overcome.
Overcoming EE Type 2 is much more challenging. I wrote about the emotional source of my sometimes-compulsive eating in a blog entry titled Ninja Master Avoider ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3027600 ). Without dealing with the underlying negative emotions, I avoided them by acting compulsively either by eating, playing computer games for hours, or watching mindless TV. Through sheer will, I could have not eaten if I could channel my avoidance effectively through some other channel, but food was regularly the mode of choice because it was quick, soothing, and tasty. I knew that I would forever struggle with my weight unless I could get to the source of my EE Type 2 and solve the underlying compulsion to avoid feelings through eating or by some other means. I still struggle when I am under a lot of stress, but I have trained myself to use my compulsive emotional “hunger” as a clue that I need to deal with some uncomfortable feelings. Most of the time I am able to confront the feelings and they go away. On occasion, however, I instinctively know that the feelings are too much to handle immediately, so I avoid, but I do so knowingly now. And, under these circumstances, sometimes I walk or jog instead of eat. What an improvement!
Since I starting being more conscious of my tendency to suppress negative emotions, I have been able to deal effectively on all but about two or three occasions. With each success I am getting stronger and the instances of my desire to eat compulsively (EE Type 2) have become fewer and less intense. Just the other day I also noticed that I have not played a computer game in months! I used to have much more trouble sleeping and would be up until 1 am or later playing computer games to avoid feeling the agitation that resulted when I suppressed negative emotions. No more! I attribute this improvement to the elimination (on a regular basis) of the root cause of my EE Type 2. By dealing with the cause, I no longer feel the need to eat to soothe, so I no longer need willpower…unless I’m dealing with EE Type 1.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Lately, I’ve been pretty consistent tracking my food, eating within my calorie range, and predominantly eating healthful foods. One thing I noticed, however, was that if I had any calories left at the end of the day, even if I already surpassed the minimum calories, I would want a little “snack” regardless of whether I was truly hungry.
I thought it would be a good idea to stop tracking and just eat healthful food when I was hungry and see if that would reduce my non-hunger eating. Can you say, “total failure”? Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but I found that I ended up eating more both in portion sizes and frequency. When tracking, I pay particular attention to portion size and types of foods consumed so I can put them into the tracker. Without the intention to track, I found that I skipped this mental exercise, which made it harder for me to remember exactly what I had eaten during the day.
I do believe that eventually I can stop tracking daily, but I don’t think it will be in the near future. I need to remain vigilant until I fully confront mindless eating or eating purely for the sake of taste or at least come up with strategies to combat this type of eating when I find that I may struggle. Until then, I will continue to track, which, I think, will also give me a sense of having more control during the times when my eating seems less than under control.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
The 9th week of the Biggest Loser Summer Challenged ended yesterday...today is weigh-in. I lost 1.5 pounds, so after last week's 1-lb gain, I'm at my lowest weight yet (since starting SP) by .5 pounds. That's pretty good! I calculated my percent weight loss and learned that I also just passed the 15% lost milestone. Yay!
Exercise has been decent this week. Today I plan to do my final C25K run. I'll be happy to have that notch in my belt, but I already know that resting on laurels will be brief. I plan to start the program over again, but this time focusing on increasing my speed. Even if laurel-resting will be short, I am incredibly proud of what I have accomplished through the C25K program, including small, but meaningful victories, much improved breathing, increased stamina, jogging an entire 3.2 miles, jogging for a solid 41 minutes and, after today, completing something that I never thought I could possibly do just a few short months ago. Amazingly, as challenging as the program was at times, the biggest battles were often mental ones. Turns out my body can do a lot more than my mind thinks it can.
I wanted to upload some pictures, but the upload feature on SP doesn't seem to be working right now. Maybe later.
Have a great day!
Friday, July 23, 2010
Now that I have experience the triumphant feeling that accompanies the accomplishment of jogging longer and farther than ever before, I can see myself permanently incorporating jogging into my exercise repetoire. However, walking home after my last jog I noticed that my hip was a little sore. It made me think about whether I know what I'm doing or if I should have my stride evaluated so that I can be an efficient, injury-free jogger.
I came across a thread on the C25K message board about proper form. Here is the thread link: www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_mes
In this thread, BANKER-CHUCK posted links to two articles discussing proper running form. I read both articles and realized that I can definitely make improvements to my running form. I can't wait to give this new-found knowledge a test run the next time I jog to see if I notice any difference.
For my own record and in case you are interested, too, here are the links to the two articles:
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